FLIP flops and plastic bottles are being reused to fulfill an eco-conscious Shap man's vision of creating a sailing ship out of plastic waste.

Ben Morison is the founder of the FlipFlopi Project, the aim of which is to build a fully functioning 60ft dhow to be sailed from Kenya to Cape Town.

With a background in organising safari holidays, it was a walk along Matemwe beach in Zanzibar in 2014 that opened Mr Morison's eyes to the planet's plastic problem.


"I was blown away by the amount of plastic on the beach," he said. "I thought it would be great if you could gather it all together and send it back to where it had come from."

Mr Morison quickly rallied support for his project. Plastic began to be collected from the beaches of Kenya last year and the boat is currently being assembled in Lamu.

Sea trials are expected to take place in October 2018 and the journey itself will begin in November 2018, with the expectation that it will take 100 days to complete the voyage.

"My naivety and complete lack of direct experience of activism, campaigning or boat building has lead me to take on such a big thing," Mr Morison said, positively.

Some 200,000 flip flops will be used to decorate the boat as the beach clean up teams have found such a huge number of them during their collections.

"We cover our boat in this material and it's brilliant," he said. "People understand it. It feels like a cartoon because it's yellows and greens and actually it's really beautiful."

Mr Morison, 41, and his team want to see the eye-catching initiative to play a role in a 'plastic revolution', that he hopes will unite people and affect real change into bringing about a world without single-use plastic.

"The Flipflopi Project may be a high profile example of how ‘already used’ plastic can be re-purposed into something useful and interesting but actually the changes that will make the real difference are the ones that start at home," he said. "Normal people making small but important changes to how they consume and dispose of plastics in their day to day, and usually very busy, lives.

"Cumbria couldn’t be a better place to start building the #Plasticrevolution here in the UK. If there is one county that should understand the value our natural environment it's Cumbria and Cumbrians."

There is currently an ongoing exhibition about the FlipFlopi Project in Sedbergh, at The Hub on Main Street.

Local schools have been invited to the exhibit on June 30 and July 1 but everyone is welcome to attend. For more information about the project visit https://www.theflipflopi.com/